June 26, 2012

'The Avengers' closing in on Titanic grossing ranking

LOS ANGELES -- "The Avengers" now has "Titanic" in its sights at the domestic box office.

Marvel Entertainment's hit superhero team-up was expected to pass $600 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday, according to distributor Walt Disney Co.

Only two other movies have done so previously, and both were directed by James Cameron: "Titanic," which came out in 1997 and finished its run at $658.7 million, and "Avatar," which was released in 2009 and took in $760.5 million.

Surpassing "Titanic" in absolute dollars is still a long shot for "Avengers," but not out of the question, as its receipts dropped a very modest 19 percent last weekend to $7.1 million and theater attendance should be very strong around the July 4th holiday.

"The Avengers" remains a more distant No. 3 in worldwide box office however, as foreigners have not gone as crazy for Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk as they did for Leo and Kate in "Titanic" or the 3-D Na'vi in "Avatar."

Marvel's movie has a global box office tally of $1.438 billion, compared with $2.185 billion for "Titanic" and $2.78 billion for "Avatar."

The figures are not adjusted for inflation. And given that ticket prices were lower in 1997 and 2009 than they are today, the tallies for "Titanic" and "Avatar" are even more impressive.

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